By Ryan Romano
For Unwind magazine
As a new fall semester starts at the University of Maryland, students have the opportunity to take in a wide variety of sports. From the gridiron of football to adventures on the softball diamond, they can pick from a large variety of sports — including ice hockey.
Ice hockey? In September? In Maryland?
Many students may not know of the team’s existence, but the club doesn’t just exist — it thrives. After Sept. 29’s game against Kutztown, Maryland’s ice hockey club team has a 3-0 record, outscoring its season opponents 18-3 in the process.
“We definitely have a lot of skill players, both forwards [and] defenseman, and two good goalies as well,” said first-year head coach Jim Gaudet.
After five years under the leadership of Bill Krampf, the team bid him good-bye in the offseason. Gaudet, who had previously worked as an associate head coach for the Naval Academy’s team, took over in May, and the early results of his tenure have been promising — although he credits his predecessor for much of that.
“They’ve had a solid team in the past couple years,” Gaudet said. “I knew it would be a good program to come into.”
Behind two strong goalies in juniors Sean Rankin and Tanner MacPhee, Maryland brings a strong defense to the rink every game. They’ve complemented that with strong play up front, particularly from junior forwards Casey Meadows and Avery Clair.
Perhaps most importantly, the Terps have physically dominated their opponents, with crushing hits and devastating blows that don’t make it into the box score.
“You’ve got to stay aggressive, you’ve got to stay on pucks,” explained freshman forward Chris Bouchard. “That’s how you’re going to win battles, that’s how you’re going to [score].”
No more than a couple hundred spectators attended the Georgetown game, but they made their presence felt, shaking the house for each of Maryland’s four goals. Senior forward Lucas Davis attributed much of that to the team’s hard-hitting style of play.
“We’re a hard hitting team, and I like it,” Davis said. “It gets the crowd into it, it gets everyone on the bench up and ready.”
If this hot start continues, fan support will likely increase. While Maryland’s ice hockey team might not yet possess the fame of the school’s other sports, they’ll certainly get there soon.